Chinese national arrested, placed in federal custody for allegedly spraying swastikas on Kalamazoo Hanukkah display

"He was difficult to identify for us because he had no real ties to Kalamazoo."


On Thursday, 27-year-old Jaifeng Chen was arrested in Arizona after he allegedly spray-painted swastikas on Hanukkah decorations and the wall outside of the Chabad of Kalamazoo in Michigan. 

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety said that the FBI worked in coordination with other law enforcement agencies in Arizona to locate and ultimately arrest the Chinese national. He was also booked on an unrelated charge on Nov. 27, according to WTVB. Chen is now in federal custody. 

In a statement to WWMT, police said, "The investigation into the incidents that occurred here in Kalamazoo is ongoing. Once complete, the investigation will be forwarded to the appropriate authority seeking charges." 

Officers said they "don't know what his motivation was" in the act, but that he is also accused of spray painting other racist graffiti around Kalamazoo Valley Community College's Arcadia Commons campus. 

"He was difficult to identify for us because he had no real ties to Kalamazoo," said Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Dave Boysen. "He’d only been here for about a month. He’s kind of been all over the country." 

The vandalism took place on the night of Nov. 17 and the community immediately worked together to clean it up. Rabbi Haller told the outlet, "We do good things and positive things and in the long-run, the light prevails." 

"They're not going to push us away...if anything, they're going to make us stronger," he said. 

In a statement, Haller's wife, Dobroshe said, "Thank you for the outpouring of love and support." She added, "We will try to remove the graffiti and pray together for our brothers and sisters in the holy land and for peace everywhere; including here and Kalamazoo."

Since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists, antisemitism has been on the rise in the United States. Jewish students at Cornell have received death threats, Jewish students at New York City's Cooper Union were forced to hide inside lockers from an angry mob, and an Israeli student was physically and verbally assaulted at Harvard, among other instances. 

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